Peoria family upset after being told to take down son’s memorial

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Peoria family said this week, they were told to take down a memorial for their son who was killed in May.

At the corner of Griswold and Grinnell in Peoria, there’s a giant blue teddy bear, bunches of flowers, and a picture of Percy L. King IV.

“He’s thoughtful, kind, giving,” said Stacey Johnson King, Percy’s mother.

King was shot and killed in May. Peoria police said the shooting happened at a gathering of more than 200 people in the 1500 block of Westmoreland. Family and friends put up the memorial to remember him long after his death.

“His father is here every day because this is where he was at every day, and this is where people feel close to him,” said King.

On Sunday night, his mother said Peoria police called to tell her the display would be taken down on Monday morning and told to collect any items the family wanted.

“When I asked the police officer why it was happening to my son’s memorial and not the other memorials that were around in the city of Peoria, [the police officer] said he didn’t know,” said King.

King said the request was hurtful. She said she doesn’t know why her son’s display was targeted.

“That was like, when I got that call, it was like getting that call back again at 2:30 a.m. when my son was murdered,” said King. “If you’re going to take someone’s loved one’s memorial down, you should at least have a reason why.”

A Peoria Police spokesperson said the memorial had deflated balloons, burnt candles, and empty alcohol bottles. First District Councilwoman Denise Moore disagrees with the description.

“Well, I had driven by a number of times, and what I had seen wasn’t what was described,” said Moore.

King’s memorial is one of many in the city of Peoria and the removal request brings up a significant issue. Moore said the city has no direction for how memorials are handled.

“There are no city rules, laws, ordinances, statutes around how long a memorial can be placed, where memorials can be placed,” said Moore.

Moore said this incident shows something about the process of removal requests needs to change.

“We can’t just say ‘we don’t know, and we don’t know what to do.’ That’s unacceptable. We’re the city,” said Moore.

Moore said she’s spoken with the police department and thinks there needs to be more sensitivity around memorials. She also said her goal is to have a social worker from the health department work with the city to handle issues like this.

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